Using Sensor Technology to improve our Facilities Management services

by | Jan 15, 2021 | IoT, Technical Services

Sensor technology has been around for many years however it is becoming more prevalent due to the improvement in sensor type, range and function. We are seeing greater client interest in adopting this technology especially during the COVID-19 pandemic as there is a substantial reduction in building occupancy. With this low occupancy, the opportunity for innovation has never been greater and we as facilities management professionals need to adapt alongside the evolving workplace.

At Acacia, we are providing innovative solutions using sensor technology to several of our  Clients.  Sensors, however, are only one part of the solution; we have developed an innovative software platform, Azolla, that monitors the output from the sensors and issues work orders to our mobile technicians when a problem is detected.  This allows Acacia to proactively respond to and fix problems before they impact on our clients.  This service is highly valued by many of our clients.   Below we have outlined a number of those solutions with a small preview of what we have coming down the R&D pipeline.

Current Innovative Solutions

Comms Room Monitoring

A Comms or Server Room is in almost every workplace in the world. The size and scale of these rooms can vary, but the one aspect that does not vary is that they are vital for business continuity; therefore, these rooms, big or small, are considered critical environments. With our cost-effective sensor solution specifically designed for Comms Room monitoring, we check for both Temperature and Humidity fluctuations as well as Water Leaks in real-time. Our unique Azolla Comms Room solution monitors easy to install sensors in real-time and will automatically generate specific problem related work orders that go directly to our engineers for immediate action and resolution.  This automates a process that has previously relied on a person coming across the problem and raising a helpdesk call that is eventually logged to a helpdesk system, losing valuable time to respond to a critical alarm.  Our solution is fully auditable and ties into our Client’s SLAs.

On-Demand Cleaning

Like many of the services we deliver, we are leveraging the benefits of new technologies to deliver an improved level of service at less cost to our Clients. Cleaning schedules are typically based on point in time data that is often out of date and therefore is not the most cost-effective method for cleaning buildings. We have deployed occupancy sensors across client sites which count the number of staff using toilets and shower rooms onsite. Within our Azolla Workplace Management platform, we apply agreed occupancy thresholds based on the incoming sensor data. When these thresholds are reached, a notification is sent directly to the on-site janitorial / cleaning team who will respond and clean the space as required rather than as scheduled.

We  also combine occupancy data with data received from the Smart Systems, such as Tork paper and soap dispensers, which completely streamline how and when toilets are cleaned and re-stocked. This is even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as we want our Clients to be able to instill trust and a feeling of safety for the returning office staff.

Plant Room Monitoring

Our Azolla multi-sensor solution can combine sensor data measuring Heat, Vibration, Power Consumption, Air Pressure, Air Quality and many other parameters, all of which would be relevant and applicable to the monitoring of a particular asset type.

Our system monitors these different data streams and notifies our teams should any measurement go above or below a pre-set data threshold. The system sends an automated work order to our technical team via our mobile app.  They will respond by deploying the relevant technician to fix the problem.  This not only prevents problems from impacting on services, it also ensures that the assets are operated efficiently, which is cost effective and assists in improving the life cycle of the asset.

Future Solutions

While existing sensors provide a good backbone of technology for Acacia, there are many building management tasks that would benefit from state-of-the-art computer vision-based solutions. Acacia have identified the challenges of monitoring the condition of the environment and of tracking people in different contexts as being key enablers to several different facilities management tasks. These range from the simple identification of the number of people entering a facility to more complex tasks such as monitoring the condition of a conference room and counting the number of uses of certain types of facilities ranging from coffee stations through to cleaning supplies.

Conclusion

COVID-19 has had a dramatic effect on the way we use and interact with the workplace.  Sensor technology will play a vital part in providing solutions for workplace services today and into the future.  Using Realtime auditable data our clients will be able to provide a flexible and safe working environment for their employees.  They will be able to provide up to date information on cleaning and hygiene services, which will give confidence to their employees that their workplace is a safe and healthy environment. We have spent years researching and developing specific use cases for sensors, uses that help our Clients keep their staff safe, while saving time and money. Sensor technology is here to stay and Acacia is becoming the industry leader for developing the technology in FM.

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Acacia Team
Acacia Team

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